Sailing: Hoping for fair winds

Varsha Gautham and Shweta Shervegar won the silver medal in the 49er FX class at the recently concluded Asian Sailing Championships in Jakarta in June, paving the way for their last minute selection.

Varsha Gautham and Sweta Shervegar won the silver medal in the Asian Sailing championship in Jakarta.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Four years after helping India to its first ever medal in women’s sailing at the Asian Games, Varsha Gautham will again spearhead the Indian challenge, partnering Shweta Shervegar this time. Varsha, just 16 during the last Games, won a bronze medal with Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan in the 29er two-person dinghy — becoming the youngest Indian athlete to win an Asiad medal. Varsha and Shweta won the silver medal in the 49er FX class at the recently concluded Asian Sailing Championships in Jakarta in June, paving the way for their last minute selection ahead of Shaila Charles and Ekta Yadav — the originally selected pair — after a court battle.

“The preparations have been going on well with some of the sailors training on their own in coordination with the Yachting Association of India. We sincerely believe that Indians do have the best chance to win a couple of medals this time around,” says Major Alok Yadav, secretary of the EME Sailing Association. 

“The conditions in Jakarta should be similar to what we have at home with the winds measuring 8-15 knots. This should not be a problem for the sailors are better prepared to face any challenge. “Frankly, the sailors are training in Europe for more exposure as they are conscious of what exactly they need to improve on to be in with a medal chance,” he added.

Squad
Men’s: Govind Bairagi, Dayne Coelho, Varun Ashok Thakkar, K. C. Ganapathy
Women’s: Katya Ida Coelho, Nethra Kumanan, Harshita Tomar, Varsha Gautham, Shweta Shervegar